Gente que Cuenta

Decaffeinated coffee, by Leonor Henríquez

Debbie Miller Atril press e1682701579967
Debbie Miller,
Sweet sour, s/f

leer en español

My British husband, and curiously a lover of coffee and not tea, used to say that drinking decaffeinated coffee was like listening to “silent music”.

This thing about silent music seems to be a radical absurdity, but recently I experienced a fleeting episode that enlightened me, or rather lulled me to this concept with unusual eloquence.

It happened in purgatory.

That place of transit, where you are here and nowhere.

An enclosure where the souls drag their heavy ballasts with little wheels. A collapsed space where one waits, with infinite patience for the turn to fly. A place only bearable because it houses the promise of Paradise. In my case Punta Cana.

A noisy place.

Yes, you guessed it, it is the airport, the best resemblance of purgatory here on earth.

After waiting for many hours, I reached the middle of my destination, the city of Toronto, where I had to spend the night.

Again, the noise…

Dazed, I walked the labyrinthine paths of purgatory, sorry the airport, until I reached outside, where the bus that would take me to my hotel was waiting for me.

That’s where my experience began.

I was the only passenger.

The driver closed the door and the noise of the crowd stayed outside.

I felt a breeze in my ears.

It was music.

I asked the driver what he was listening to, and he told me it was Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4. He added that the classics were his particular way of being able to do his job without going crazy.

The journey was an ethereal pause in my day.

I arrived at my hotel destroyed, but comforted.

Before going to bed, I made myself a cup of decaf coffee.

I surrendered to sleep and to the audible silence.

“Life is a great noise between two abysmal silences.”
Isabel Allende

www.atril .press Leonor Henríquez e1670869356570

Leonor Henríquez (Caracas, Venezuela) Civil Engineer by training (UCAB 1985), writer and apprentice poet by vocation. From her time in engineering emerged her Office Stories (1997), another way of seeing the corporate world. Her latest publications include reflections on grief, Hopecrumbs (2020) ( and “The Adventures of Chispita” (2021) ( an allegory of life inside Mom’s belly.
Today she shares her “impulsive meditations” from Calgary, Canada, where she lives.

by the same author


Compartir en

    ¡Subscribe to our Newsletter!

    People who support us